Powell goes for 11th

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2001

Pete Powell staked an early claim to the Bill McKinney Memorial City Championship by shooting a five-under 66 in the first round. And he also staked his claim to winning his eleventh title.

Powell made six birdies and no bogeys in his round. And he only missed three greens in regulations.

&uot;I hit it pretty good,&uot; said Powell, who is also gunning to be th only player to have a championship in four decades. &uot;I had a high percentage of short birdie putts.&uot;

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In fact, Powell made five of his six gimme birdie putts. but on the sixth putt for birdie, a fly zoomed between the ball and his putter head as Powell took the club into the backswing.

Jay Lessley, the defending champion who defeated Powell in a playoff last year, was fired with a three-under 68. He birdied holes 3, 7, 10 and 14 to move to four-under par. But he bogied the 18th hole to end with a 68.

Lessley has played excellent championship golf in the past week. He finished tied for second at the Farm Bureau Invitational at Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club last week, and he is now all alone in second place for the city championship.

Ninety-two golfers are participating in the event. It was broken down into eight flights, with 12 golfers in seven flights and eighth in the championship group.

Joining Powell and Lessley in that flight are: Bennie Bell and Bill Byrne, who shot 69; Dustin Hutto and C.C. Barnes, who carded 70; Jamie Spring, who shot a 71; and Bruce Bell, who shot 72.

Tee times start at 11 a.m. today. The championship flight of Powell, Lessley, Bell and Byrne begins at 2:32 p.m.